Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Rincon De La Vieja Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Our third stop saw us staying on a working horse and cattle ranch in the volcanic Rincon de la Vieja National Park. This area is famed for its abundance of natural hot springs and rich, therapeutic mud, so naturally we were pretty keen to put on our swimming kit and dive in!

Getting to the hot springs turned out to be more of an adventure than we anticipated. After a short minibus ride, we found ourselves on the edge of a tropical forest where there were some little changing rooms. We donned our bikinis, wrapped ourselves in our towels and put our trainers back on before trekking into the forest. We followed a winding path through the trees before reaching a long hanging bridge across a fast flowing river which took us to the the first of the hot springs.

The springs were just heavenly. The water was a toasty 40 degrees or so (it varied from pool to pool) and was pretty clear. The forest came right down to the edge of the pools and the river flowed past, a mere arm's width away. We were well and truly in our own little woodland paradise!

Before long however, the evening was rolling in and it was time to retire to our hotel room and rest before the next day's excursions.

The next morning, we rose bright and early, and went to meet some new furry friends. We were going to take out some horses and ride to the waterfalls in the national park!

We saddled up and rode off, our guide (a real life cowboy!) initially taking the lead. Before long, we saw our first extraordinary sight. Ahead of us, an entire heard of horses was coming towards us down the road, with a cowboy following shortly behind. On seeing us coming, the cowboy whistled to his horses who all immediately stood aside to let us pass! I had never seen such well trained horses before in all my life and soon found that the same training extended to my own mount! I have to say, I have never ridden such a responsive horse before, which I felt was especially surprising since horses used for 'touristy' hacks tend to know exactly where they're going and don't listen to you at all!

We rode onwards through the surrounding forest, climbing up bouldery banks and wading across rivers before arriving at the first of the waterfalls. A beautiful torrent of water spilled over the rocks high above us and before long, we discovered that we could climb up the rocks to get a closer look.  

The second waterfall was not quite as impressive as the first, but was definitely beautiful nonetheless. Apparently, this one is where people come to swim but I have to say the river looked a little fast flowing for me!

A little while later, it was time to return our tired horses to their stables and so we set off on the last leg of our ride. I have to say horseback was a lovely way to explore the area just because we could get to places which would have been tricky to reach by car and a rather long walk on foot. I really enjoyed our ride, especially since the places we'd visited and the landscapes we'd seen along the way were just so stunning. A definite highlight (although the sore thighs we had for days after were not...!).

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh! That is stunning! I just want to jump in the pictures. What an amazing part of the world. xx, Hailey